Fatal Car Crash Sparks Bushfire in Hunter Region of New South Wales

A fatal car crash sparked a bushfire in the Hunter region of New South Wales, Australia, on Wednesday, December 3, local media reported.

The fire was burning more than 200 hectares (about 500 acres) near Pelaw Main in the Hunter region at the time of writing, according to an update from the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS).

The fire was initially under the highest emergency warning and then downgraded to the mid-range Watch and Act level. The blaze was most recently downgraded to the lowest warning level due to cooler temperatures and decreasing wind speeds, the NSW RFS said.

The fire was moving in a southeastern direction toward Richmond Vale, and firefighters were working to protect nearby homes, according to the NSW RFS. Homes on Richmond Vale Road were evacuated, while some other residents were urged to seek shelter as it was “too late” for them to leave, local media reported.

This video shows a large air tanker dropping fire retardant on the blaze as smoke fills the sky.

The NSW RFS said there were currently 111 fires burning in the region, 51 of which were not yet contained.

The Pelaw Main fire started when a vehicle drove off the road, hit a pole, and ignited, reports said. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. Credit: NSW Rural Fire Service via Storyful